My favorite activities all involve sitting in chairs. I love reading books, blogs, magazines–anything. I love playing games and eating good food and drinking coffee and watching sci-fi and murder mysteries and BBC dramas. I love long talks with friends.
I have to force myself to exercise.
It’s not that I don’t like any physical activities. There are plenty of them that I enjoy: I love hiking and trips to the beach. I love to swim. I love to kayak and take long bike rides and long walks.
But I hate running. Unfortunately, running happens to be the cheapest and most flexible form of exercise. Although I find other forms of exercise more enjoyable, I also find them harder to work into my schedule (or my budget). So each semester, I try to take up running. I’ll go out maybe once or twice, walking more than I run. Finally, I end up promising myself that I’ll schedule in time for the campus gym. Exercising soon falls by the wayside.
Since my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, I’ve been more motivated to make exercise a more regular part of my schedule. This summer, I carved out some time for the gym, where I’d usually find myself on the treadmill. I started out with brisk 10 minute walks and then began alternating between walking and running.
One day, in a moment of reckless abandon, I kept running.
I ran for a solid ten minutes, about a mile. I felt a rush that exercise had never given me before, a tiny taste of why some people love running. A ten-minute run on the treadmill soon became a regular part of my exercise routine.
One weekend when the gym was closed, I tried taking my usual run on the track. I quickly conked out and walked instead. Evidently, I’m not as motivated when I can stop running without falling over. Perhaps I don’t really hate running, but I can’t seem to do it without a treadmill as my taskmaster, setting my pace and threatening me with the humiliation and pain of a fall if I quit.
I shared this information, with a laugh at my expense, after a friend told me how she had taken up running while interning in England this summer. “I used to be the same way,” she said. She told me that she set small goals for herself: she started running for 15 minutes at a time, then 20, and then 30. By the end of the summer, she had learned to love running.
She recommended an app called Couch to 5K. Apparently this app helps you set reasonable goals and provides some accountability, something I need. Realizing that the intimidating 5K was merely three times farther than the distance I could already run has encouraged me.
I think I can do it and would like to try.
But I think I’ll need to start on the treadmill.
Do you run? Did you have a hard time transitioning from treadmill to track?